The War on Drugs: Wagonwheel Blues (Longtime Listener)

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The War on Drugs: Arms Like Boulders
The War on Drugs: Wagonwheel Blues (Longtime Listener)

Some music is purely functional: music in airports; massage music, Kiwi backyard-bbq reggae etc.

This one by a US band I know nothing about is driving music -- annoying inner city stop-start or highway freedom -- and comes off in places like amphetamine-fuelled and wordy Dylan '65 (or more correctly, Butch Hancock when he was doing that style, if you get the reference).

The singer has a whiny, nasal and wind-blown folk-rock speak-sing voice, the band crank along like Explosions in the Sky creating ragged r'n'b backdrops or sonic landscapes, and although I can't recall a single chorus or song title I have been playing this for weeks in the car and have returned to it frequently between other albums.

They even shave off a little early Springsteen and early Tom Petty, but mostly they sound like a bunch of people who have listened to Highway 61 Revisited quite a lot -- but like noisy guitars and freewheelin' organ. I even like the track Show Me The Coast which is just a 10 minute Velvet Underground chord'n'jangle with the barely audible singer somewhere at the far end of the room. Great played loud when you are stuck at the lights.

I may never hear any more from these people, but I am liking this very much in the present tense. 

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mark - Sep 8, 2009

Hi Graham - i have always had a liking for alt country, 70s Springsteen and jangly guitar bands and so, on the strength of this one listen and your review, i have just down loaded this LP from iTunes. Tonight it will be "walking music" in my headphones as i meander home. cheers as always. Mark
P.S. Does one say "downloaded an LP"????

Chris - Sep 15, 2009

the guitarist for The War On Drugs is Kurt Vile (yep, real name) who released a compilation of early stuff on the Constant Hitmaker album and his new record Childish Prodigy is due out on Matador early October. I just interviewed him today - great album, interesting guy. The new record is closer to TWOD - highly recommend it! The main singer/writer of TWOD is playing in his band The Violators on tour also...

Relic - Dec 12, 2014

just as I finally find a modern record that suits V8 car trips, “Lost in the dream”–by The War on Drugs sans Vile; it turns out to be somewhat popular, oh well no accounting for etc.

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